LEXINGTON, Ky. (AP) -- For all the preseason talk about
Louisville's high-powered passing game, it was a running back and a
defensive end that led the Cardinals to victory in their opener.
Michael Bush rushed for 128 yards and two touchdowns and Elvis
Dumervil added a school-record six sacks as No. 12 Louisville held
off Kentucky 31-24 on Sunday.
The 6-foot-2, 250-pound Bush carried 27 times and scored on runs
of 11 and 1 yards. He helped the Cardinals grind out the clock
after Kentucky (0-1) rallied within a touchdown in the fourth
quarter. It was Bush's fourth career 100-yard rushing effort, and
the Cardinals' sixth win in seven years against their in-state
"I'm just real sore," Bush said. "I wasn't paying attention
to how many carries I have. I'm glad they put it on my shoulders to
do what I did."
Louisville's heralded sophomore quarterback, Brian Brohm, went
19-of-27 for 179 yards and rushed for two touchdowns in his first
collegiate start. He had just one incompletion in the first half as
the Cardinals jumped to a 28-7 lead.
But the Cardinals managed only a 19-yard field goal by Art
Carmody in the second half, opening the door for a Kentucky rally.
The Wildcats pulled within 31-24 with 11:52 left on a 15-yard
touchdown pass from quarterback Andre Woodson to tight end Jacob
Tamme then partially blocked a Louisville punt, giving Kentucky
possession at the Louisville 33 with 7:21 left, and the Wildcats
quickly reached the 7-yard line.
On the next play, Woodson carried, switched the football from
one hand to another and fumbled at the 2. Louisville linebacker
Brandon Johnson, whose knee hit the ball while Woodson was going
down, recovered with 6:21 left.
The Southeastern Conference is using instant replay this season,
but game officials chose not to stop the game to review if Woodson
was down when he fumbled. Kentucky coach Rich Brooks said he
thought Woodson was down and wanted officials to review the play.
"I don't understand why we have instant replay if we don't look
at a pivotal play in the game like that," Brooks said. "All we
have to do is look at it."
Louisville coach Bobby Petrino said he didn't have a view of the
The Wildcats never got the ball back, as the Cardinals converted
three times on third down on their ensuing drive.
"I was really happy with the way Michael ran at the end of the
game because that is something we've been working hard on, getting
the tough yards and the physical yards," Petrino said.
"That's how rivalry games are supposed to be and we felt like,
coming in here, it was going to be a great battle. So, we're
certainly glad to get out of here with a 'W."
Woodson, a sophomore making his second career start, went
17-of-27 for 278 yards and two touchdowns but lost three fumbles.
"It just makes me sick to my stomach that we were close to
doing something that would have been very significant and again, we
come up just short on it," Brooks said. "We had our chances."
Louisville opened with a 13-play, 76-yard touchdown drive,
capped by Brohm's 1-yard run, but Kentucky answered by covering 80
yards in 10 plays, with Arliss Beach scoring on a 6-yard run to tie
Louisville's offense kept rolling, while Kentucky managed only
two first downs the rest of the half. The Cardinals went ahead
14-7, ending a 77-yard drive with a 1-yard touchdown run by Brohm
on the first play of the second quarter.
Fumbles by Woodson, both forced by Dumervil, set up the next two
scores. Dumervil appeared to return the second fumble 33 yards for
a touchdown, but after a video review of the play, officials ruled
he was down at the spot of the recovery.
Dumervil had four sacks in the first half and added two more
after the break. The previous school record for sacks in a game was
five, set by Mike Flores against Murray State in 1990.
"He's got arms like he's a 7-footer and he's able to get his
arms out on the offensive linemen before the guy gets set and he
knows leverage well," Petrino said of Dumervil. "I bet he would
have been a good wrestler."
Kentucky, coming off a 2-9 season in which it had one of the
worst offenses in NCAA Division I-A, didn't take much consolation
from coming close against its archrival.
"There are no moral victories," said sophomore receiver Keenan
Burton, who had four catches for 98 yards. "A win is a win and a
loss is a loss."
Top 25 Overview
It was over when... Kentucky QB Andre Woodson fumbled at the Louisville 2 when it looked like the 'Cats would tie the game. Instead, the Cards ran the clock out and showed why Kentucky is, well, Kentucky.
Gameball goes to... Louisville's Michael Bush. The Cardinals' bruising back ran for 128 yards and 2 TDs and had countless big runs to keep the chains moving.
Stat of the game... 6: The school-record number of sacks by Louisville's Elvis Dumervil. Dumervil had four sacks in the first half and added two more after the break. The previous school record for sacks in a game was five, set by Mike Flores against Murray State in 1990.